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Full text of "NightRider"

424

now darkened kitchen, and as he approached the next room
and saw her standing there, framed in the opening of the
doorway, he thought how, that first day in the hotel room,
while the tumult of the crowds rose from the street, he had
suddenly seen her stand in the middle of the floor, like that,
and had been struck by her quietness, the sense of an inner
steadiness. She stood there now, as he approached, and the
lamplight fell across her face, shadowing one half of it, seem-
ing to define and sharpen, as by a hint of the potentiality of
time, the structure of tie bone beneath the flesh.

He went through the doorway. Her eyes had been fixed
on him as he approached—he was sure of that—but she did
not move.

"Hello, Lucille," he said, and went toward her, holding out
his hand. He saw Adelle Proudfit standing over near the
table where the lamp was.

"Hello," she said, and gave him her hand. "How are
you?" she asked. She seemed to be studying his face, fleet-
ingly but intently. Seeing that, he was embarrassed, as
though she might penetrate to a secret guilt.

" I'm all right," he said.   " I'm getting along fine."

She seemed about to speak, but did not. She withdrew her
hand from his, startling him, for he had been unaware that
he still held it. Then, as though collecting herself, she ex-
plained : " We wanted to know how you were getting along.
That's why I came. Doctor MacDonald told me where you
were"—she was speaking with a tone of dispassionate pre-
cision, as though delivering a memorized and only half-
understood message. "He thought that I'd better come, and
not somebody else; if he came somebody might guess."

"I appreciate it," he replied, "you coming. And Doctor
MacDonald wanting to know how I was getting along." His
voice sounded stale to his ears.

She turned toward Adelle Proudfit, saying: " Mrs. Proudfit
was so nice to ask me to spend the night. I'm going back
tomorrow. We just wanted to know-----"

"Naw, naw," Willie Proudfit protested.   He had entered